There are men in my lab this week de-lead-ing our windows. They haven't interfered with any place I spend my time so it's always still a surprise to walk down the hall and spot a man completely covered in a white protection suit.
This morning, in anticipation of the de-lead-ers hitting our office, my officemate and I wondered if they could bother to take off the bars on our windows in the process since it's not really safe to be situated between compressed air tanks and a combustion wind tunnel.
Then my office mate turned to me, "Why don't we take them off ourselves?"
I looked at him. "I wanted to do this a long time ago. But I wasn't strong enough."
He sent me downstairs with orders to find the largest screwdriver I could. I returned with one that was two feet long and although a smile played on my lips at the ridiculousness of the question, "Is this one big enough?" I knew that it was possible he would send me back downstairs for a larger one.
After all the screws and bolt were out, it just took me jumping onto my desk and tugging on the bars a little before the entire thing came free. My labmate picked it up and laughed. "Do you want to mount this somewhere as a prize?"
I laughed at him, "Oh, you mean, like it was mounted on our windows for the past 30 years?"
He shrugged. "Well, what else can we do with such a bulky piece? I don't want it just lying around our lab."
I nodded, "Yep, it's called 'put it in the trash.'"
He seemed uncertain about my response. "Won't they get mad at us for throwing it away without asking first?"
"Plus," my labmate reasoned. "If they ask us to put them back, we can just tell them it's too late because we already threw it all away."
So my labmate carried the thing down our spiral staircase and we dumped it in our dumpster.
Suddenly, the fact that I stayed up all night to run an unsuccessful experiment doesn't seem like such a bad thing. I'm pretty sure that taking away those bars just changed my life.